I Have Always Been Self Employed

Even as a kid I was self employed and made my own money.

When I was 13 we had a 6 week shop class called "Printing."  We learned how to select type styles from the various drawers of movable type, how to set it up and to print.  It involved type and a printing press which, believe it or not, looked a lot like the photos below.  It was a very old-fashioned printing process.  I loved it.

Our type was set upside down and backwards.  We selected the color we wanted for the printing.  The press spread the ink all around the plate. 

We located our card on the press so that the project came out properly centered, and went to work, one printed piece at a time.

We had two projects to complete.  One was a silk screen and another something on the printing press.

I was the only kid to print a business card!

A scan of one of my original cards is below (circa 1966).  Look carefully and you can see that the "n" in "and" is incorrect.  But I didn't notice then.  I printed 100 cards.

I passed this card all around the neighborhood and got a lot of business from it!  Most kids just mowed - I did a lot more, trimming and edging.  I carried tools!

Having money, I needed capital for my new business - a lawn mower and tools.  My mother made me pay for 1/2 of the lawn mower, a Lawn Boy, "because you will use it on our yard too."  I picked out and bought my own tools.  She also demanded that I buy all my own gasoline and oil.  That required riding my bike one handed to the gas station with a 2 gallon tank in my left hand!  Two or three times a week.  I rode my bike everywhere and anywhere.

In addition to mowing the entire neighborhood, early mornings I delivered the local newspaper, all the way through college.  Some afternoons I went to local golf clubs and got balls out of the lakes to sell back to the golfers.  There was a LOT of money in golf balls!  And at night I rode my bike to a Burger Chef nearby and flipped burgers.  Busy kid!  My bike was my car.

This is the money I used for college!  After college I went to graduate school, and after a brief stint in an office, which I hated, I started my own businesses.  And home inspecting has been the business since 1981, full time since 1987. 

My childhood, and the Boy Scouts, taught me self sufficiency.  Every job I had as a kid and since has helped teach me different aspects of employment skills and personal leadership.  Each has taught me valuable lessons regarding service and self discipline and dealing with others.  Life experience can be a cruel but effective teacher.  You don't always get an "A."

Now you know more about me.  I have no clue as to how to go about finding a job!  And hopefully I will never have to find out!

A very good book on self employment can be found here.  Another is here, and remember, self employment is not for everyone.


Protected by Copyscape DMCA Takedown Notice Checker


jay | Tue, 07/06/2010 - 21:24

Thanks Casey. You probably have a story similar to this. You should publish one too. And send me a link!

Casey Patten (not verified) | Wed, 06/30/2010 - 14:44

Jay, cool story! Self-sufficiency is something that is lacking sometimes today, but that's just a great story. Thanks!

jay | Sat, 05/22/2010 - 21:59

Thank you Ian! And thanks for stopping by. We really do retain many of the lessons we learn in our youth, and later find out that our parents were not really so dumb after all!

Ian Niquette (not verified) | Tue, 05/18/2010 - 16:04

Jay, that is a really neat story about your younger days. It shows that you were very innovative and self sufficient back then. Great stuff. Thanks for sharing with the rest of us.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
  _   _   _   ____     __      ___    _____ 
(_) | \ | | | _ \ / /_ / _ \ | ___|
| | | \| | | |_) | | '_ \ | | | | | |_
| | | |\ | | _ < | (_) | | |_| | | _|
|_| |_| \_| |_| \_\ \___/ \__\_\ |_|
Enter the code depicted in ASCII art style.

Jay performs inspections Monday through Saturday, throughout Northern Virginia, from his office in Bristow to Leesburg and Centreville, to Great Falls and Vienna and everywhere in between!